Shawn McClondon Podcast


Crossing the Racial Divide

Ep. 124 - Meet Shawn McClondon, a guy who lives his passion to cross the racial divide. He is passionate about a better understanding and communication among races and ethnicities, providing a platform for black women entrepreneurs, and helping youth understand and live their own passions. Find out how he is creating understanding between a predominantly-white surburb and a predominantly-black area of a central city through the Sisters Cities project he created and hopes will expand nation-wide. Join in to his black women entrepreneurs programs on Zoom. And see how he has helped youth find their passion and build careers.

Top Takeaways:

    • The power of helping young people get where they want to be in life
    • The importance of building better relationships between white people and communities of color
    • The importance of flexibility for leaders today to serve all people from all communities
    • How to be courageous to have conversations around hard things in society that need to change

Listen in to learn the importance of building relationships between black and white communities to end racism in America.

"We have to be able to listen to each other and talk to each other because it's important for us to take the next step towards social justice, equality, and ending racism." -Shawn McClondon


He started his career in the internet industry in 1998. The tech boom had just begun and he felt that his background in art was perfectly suited to create masterpieces for businesses using a new technology called web design. As CEO of his first start-up Designing Minds, he acquired some big contracts. Some of his contracts included development work on the first virtual tour technology, web design for Intuit's first website, and other web work for companies in the real estate industry such as Coldwell Banker and Century 21. Following the changing of the tide, in 2002 Designing Minds morphed from a web development company into a Search Engine Optimization company.

In 2004, his world was forever altered with the advent of WordPress. From that day, he has been a student of social media, the tools used to deploy it and the psychology behind it all. He was a featured speaker on digital marketing strategy and worked with some of the biggest brands in the world including WD40, Dexcom and Bumble Bee Tuna. Currently, he runs his own digital marketing consulting company, Smart Digital.


Shawn McClondon spent a year as Communication Director for San Diego City Councilmember and Council President Myrtle Cole in 2013. Myrtle Cole was the Councilmember for District 4, which includes some of the most low-income neighborhoods in San Diego. He oversaw public relations, marketing, communications, branding and online marketing for the office.

The most enjoyable part of the role for him was developing and directing the communications to get community support and involvement in the planning and execution of projects that improved the lives of citizens in our district. Most of these projects involved coordination with all city council offices and city departments including Mayor Kevin Faulconer's office. I gained invaluable experience learning the inner workings of city government in San Diego while developing a broad network of government officials, community leaders, and business owners.

Much of this became the base of his Sister Cities Project. Sister Cities Project is a San Diego non-profit organization, founded in the wake of the George Floyd killing, and the demonstrations and protests against police brutality and systemic racism that followed. Sister Cities addressing institutional racism by building relationships between affluent White communities and underserved Black communities in order to encourage the sharing of support, resources and cultures.


Shawn McClondon's labor of love is a non-profit that he founded in 2014 called Youth Campaigns, a hands-on work experience program that creates a pipeline toward careers in digital marketing for low income, minority and at-risk youth ages 16 -24 in the Greater San Diego area. Youth Campaigns has had over 150 youth participate in the program and has placed nearly one-third of those participants in internships or jobs in the industry. This includes two programs that were held right here in Solana Beach at the local library. During his work with Youth Campaigns, he was recognized as a Union-Tribune notable person, a finalist for the San Diego Business Journal nonprofit of the year and the program has been featured on several news outlets in San Diego.


Learn the importance of having hard conversations around issues affecting society today and need change.

Shawn explains how his mom's cancer journey inspired him plus his early knowledge of a better future [3:28]

When he realized the need for more people of color in the digital space and created Youth Campaigns [6:13]

How small things and acts get to change the lives of young people of color [8:57]

How Sister Cities was born as a way to build relationships between all communities [11:03]

The underway plans to roll over Sister Cities across the United States to end racism [13:38]

He explains how he learned that even one person knowing his message can make a difference [14:47]

Shawn describes how Smart Digital was born and how he helps companies be more successful through online marketing [18:32]

He explains his being here and able to do it as his success story and his past mistakes as his biggest challenge [20:20]

The legacy of not giving up no matter how hard the road got is what Shawn describes as his legacy [22:39]

Why the biggest problem in society today is lack of effective communication [23:28]

He describes strength as the most important thing in his life plus his dream for people to prioritize hard discussions [25:29]

He advises young people to continue making change and to listen to others [26:48]

Why we should continue having discussions around change, equality, and ending racism [27:36]


Sister Cities Project


San Diego Tribune Story: Helping Youth Use Social Media to Create Jobs

Facebook: Youth Campaigns

Website for Smart Digital


Antonio McGinnis

David Northern

Jillian Ryan

Kristen Keen

Mozhgan Wafiq Alokozai


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